West of England Premier League
Premier 1
Bath 166-5 beat Bridgwater 164 by 5 wkts

BRIDGWATER missed the opportunity to guarantee their Premier 1 status after going down by five wickets away to second-placed Bath on Saturday.

The hosts won an important toss with the early conditions tough for batting due to excessive swing and seam movement.

Only Will Smeed (32) got to grips with the Bath bowlers in an entertaining innings that included seven 4s, as Bridgwater’s strong batting line up were blown away by Harry Hankins (4-35 off eight overs) and Adam Kelly (2-28 off 10) – seven of the first nine wickets being clean bowled.

At 115-9 the visitors were in a fairly hopeless position, but a stand of 49 for the 10th wicket between Ned Leonard (23no) and Andy Roberts (19) gave Bridgwater a flicker of hope as the innings closed on 164 all out.

After tea, stand-in skipper Chris Skidmore took a liking to the helpful seam bowling conditions, as he bowled an unplayable opening spell, reeling off his 10 overs and taking 2-25 in a spell that probably deserved more, constantly beating the bat.

Calum Haggett (3-38) also picked up wickets and at 72-4 the home side were rocking with the visitors’ tails up.

Despite the best efforts of the remaining Bridgwater bowlers, however, Paul Muchall (42) and Ben Wells (46no) shared a key stand of 67 which inched Bath to their target, leaving the away side to rue the earlier batting collapse.

Match ball sponsors: TMB Patterns Ltd; match travel sponsors: Charles Dickens Estate Agents and Falcon Vehicle Solutions Ltd

This coming Saturday, Bridgwater host Taunton St Andrew’s in a key game in Premier 1 (12.30pm start), with neither side quite out of the woods yet.

Saints beat Bristol at the weekend to inch a point ahead of this Saturday’s hosts, on 176 points to Bridgwater’s 175.

They are 23 points clear of the dropzone, with second-bottom Frocester also winning on Saturday, against Downend.


WEPL Somerset Division
Bridgwater 2nds 197 beat Chard 154 by 43 runs

THERE was more success for Bridgwater 2nds on Saturday, as they ended Chard’s faint title chances and raised their own hopes of a top four finish.

The home side elected to bat first at The Parks, and enjoyed a 71-run opening stand between Tom Bellinger (26) and Daniel Rossiter (38) as Chard’s bowlers toiled.

But the score stayed on 71 as Bellinger, Rossiter and Will Moyse (0) all fell, only for Jonathan Vickery (48) and Andrew Skidmore (13) to rebuild.

After a mid-order wobble, Vickery led the hosts to 169, at which point his was the seventh wicket to fall.

There was a late burst from Scott Clapp (29), but Joe Draper (3-9 off 7.5 overs) cleaned up the tail, aiding Chris Scott’s (3-30 off 10) earlier efforts for Chard.

The visitors’ reply fell to pieces early on, as Chris Singleton (3-18 off 6.3) and Ian Higgins (2-20 off five) reduced them to 18-4.

Even at 66-6, the game was Bridgwater’s to lose, only for Chris (68) and Richard Scott (26) to counter-attack.

But, crucially, Clapp had Chris Scott caught and bowled at 135-7, and from there Chard’s end was nigh.

Singleton returned to take another wicket, plus two run-outs – the latter removing Akhona Mbanga (16) and finishing the visitors’ innings on 154.

Bridgwater are now just one point behind fourth-placed Chard, and this Saturday sees them travel to Minehead, who sit third (12.30pm start).